2013 Mazda CX-9 AWD

2013 Mazda CX-9

The Good:
– Contemporary styling
– Cabin space and features
– Great ride and handling
The Bad:
– Average fuel economy
– Limited offroad ability
– Some hard cabin plastics

The CX-9 is Mazda’s three-row midsize crossover that’s silently been on the market since 2007, gaining the occasional update over the years to keep it fresh. In fact, it’s just undergone its third facelift this year, although it certainly doesn’t feel ancient in any way compared to its rivals.

The 2013 redesign includes a new corporate front-end, redone tail lamp clusters, optional new 20-inch wheels and not much else. It’s a handsome design that somehow hides its size well with clever styling. At more than five metres in length, it’s longer than a Range Rover! However, most of that length seems to be wasted on the huge front overhang.

2013 Mazda CX-9 7

Stepping inside, the cabin design is very simple, just like in every other current Mazda. But all the textures look premium and the door-panel materials are truly upscale to the touch. However, the dashboard is entirely hard-plastic, negating any luxury vibe the rest of the interior built up.

Cabin space is very good, with moderately-bolstered front seats, and especially abundant in the 60:40-split second row, with its reclining backrest. Even the third row has just about enough headroom for average-sized adults, but legroom back there is way too tight to be comfortable. The second-row seat can be slid forward to improve third-row knee room, but not by a whole lot. Surprisingly, boot space is reasonable enough for groceries even with the two-piece third row in use, and positively huge with it folded down. There’s enough cubbies and pockets, as well as covered cup-holders.

Our top-spec version came loaded with good features, such as a decent CD/MP3 touchscreen stereo with USB/AUX ports, navigation, rear camera, blind-spot monitor, collision warning, cruise control, keyless entry and start, front-side airbags, HID headlights, power tailgate, sunroof and a tri-zone auto a/c with rear vents. However, the touchscreen is small and fidgety to use, while the a/c was barely average in the July heat, at least in our test car.

2013 Mazda CX-9 4

Powered by a Ford-sourced carryover 3.7-litre V6, the big motor makes 273 hp at 6250 rpm and 367 Nm of torque at 4250 rpm. Mated to a smooth 6-speed automatic with manual-shift capability, our all-wheel-drive tester did the 0-100 kph run in 8.9 seconds with the pedal to the metal. Otherwise, it feels sluggish on partial-throttle, especially when casually overtaking at highway speeds. Fuel economy isn’t particularly impressive either, with an as-indicated 16.4 litres/100 km of consumption.

The handling is great for a car of its size. There’s good grip from the 245/50 tyres. Body roll is limited and understeer can be kept at a minimum with the right braking inputs. Flick the steering left-right and the tail can be swung out slightly in a controlled manner, sort of like a hot hatch, but the overall weight is very obvious so there’s a limit to how much you can chuck about this big wagon. The steering is heavy and offers some feedback, but curiously, it lightens up at highway speeds, when it should be the other way round. And the ABS-assisted disc brakes are average at best.

Cruising on the highway, the ride is a wee bit on the firm side, but still pretty smooth on most surfaces. It’s also fairly silent so, aside from the somewhat-lazy overtaking juice, it’s a great long-distance runner.

The CX-9 is clearly not designed with offroading in mind, with its road-biased suspension, long overhangs and lack of low-range gearing. However, it’ll do fine on gravel tracks and flat soft-sand areas, if driven with a light right foot.

The CX-9 continues Mazda’s tradition of building generic family cars with class-leading handling. All in all, it does almost everything well enough to be among the top contenders in the midsize crossover segment. A few of its rivals offer a bit more space, a bit better fuel economy, and a bit more premium cabin materials, but if a bit of fun is on your agenda, the Mazda is clearly in a class above.

Price Range:
Dh 119,750-146,800

Current Model Introduced in:
2013

Body Styles:
5-door wagon

Engines:
3.7L 273 hp V6 / 367 Nm

Transmissions:
6-speed automatic

Setup:
Four-wheel-drive

Suspension:
Front: independent
Rear: independent

Brakes:
Front: discs
Rear: discs

Curb Weight:
1960 kg

Length:
5108 mm

Wheelbase:
2876 mm

Top Speed:
160 kph(limited)

Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
8.9 sec.

Observed Test Fuel Economy:
16.4 litres/100km

13 comments to 2013 Mazda CX-9 AWD

  • Vic

    Hi Mash

    Please provide 3 competitors of CX-9 which are in the same price range (more or less).

    Tks

    Vic

  • Pankaj

    Fuel consumption seems quite high with 16.4L/100 Kms

  • TD

    Hi Mash,

    I used to drive Acadia, regarding fuel economy it will be the same. However regarding reailiblity I would recommend the CX9. In my opinion the only vehicle that can compete with the CX9 within the same price is the Ford Explorer. The only thing I need to know what do you think aout resale value of CX9 & Explorer?

  • Mohamed

    Hi,

    what do you think CX9 or Pathfinder?

    I want some help to choose between these 2 cars.

  • Sami

    i currently drive a CX9 2011 and i want to upgrade. i tried 2013 CX9 and it was disappointing in terms of upgrade. really nothing in features, poor screen interface and plastic dash. for that downgrade, they are asking for a 20,000 AED higher price than the one i paid for 2011 beautiful version. they have added navigation and bluetooth, yes, but both the things have substitutes.
    i have compared it with nissan pathfinder and found pathfinder better in features. handling of CX9 is better though. pathfinder is 20K AED more expensive than CX9. i have also tried explorer but the good versions were 200K and above. for 195K, i can get an infiniti QX60. so its all confusing now. should i pay higher than my current CX9 and get no real upgrade or should i pay 20K more and get excellent features but slightly compromising drive or should i pay 40K more and get a premium luxury vehicle!

  • Fady Morkos

    Hi Mash,

    You have mentioned that its Max speed is 194 kph, where my 2013 CX9 is limited by Mazda to be 160 kph.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      Hey, thanks for the update. Must be a way to put tyres with lower speed rating and save on costs.

  • Shutterbug

    I recently bought a 2014 Mazda CX-9 top-end model. So far, I’ve been very happy. I think this vehicle provides terrific value for money. Other competitors, in lower-spec versions are much more expensive.

    The only sore point is the fuel economy, which is not a big deal here in the GCC

  • Nidhi

    Hi Shutterbug & Mash,

    I am planning to buy CX9 2015 …. How is the performance of AC in extreme temperatures of gulf..

  • Siva

    I would prefer Pathfinder compared to the 2013-designed CX-9. Any updates / comparison of these two will be appreciated.

  • Sam

    I picked up a new CX-9 this one up last week, the GT trim for AED 100,000 from Galadari. This came with 20inch wheels, Navi, leather, sunroof, bi xeon lights etc. So far so good, to think I nearly signed up for a Camry Limited for 106K!

    Seriously Mazda is very underrated in the market, they really suck at marketing.

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